Tuesday, May 27, 2008

So just how do the mobile data evangelists square this then?

I am trying to finish two blog posts at present but things keep getting in the way.

Just had to post about Ewan's problems with Vodafone and data charges.

His solution following a chat with another member of the Customer Service team is no long term solution but rather a way to exit a contract that he feels is unfair.

I had a similar issue with the rates that Orange wanted to charge me for unlimited data useage last year. The good news was that I had the name and number of the head of the executive office and after a short call managed to get the to fix the problem and refund the over charge. It took them two months to resolve the issue. It also highlighted holes in the billing systems used by the operator.

So with a disconnect between Marketing and Operations just how will the networks enter the market? Ewan is now unhappy with both T-Mobile and Vodafone. He intends to try 3 on the basis of cost. In a market that sees everyone who wants a mobile having two the networks need to retain customers. With termination rates falling they seek to replace declining revenues from Voice by selling people something new, Data. This sale is not informed as they have little understanding of what a normal user consumes and so cannot price accordingly. With the investments made in 3G the Network needs to find some form of ROI or it will not build the networks, see O2.

If all those who spoke at Mobile Portal Strategy last week are to deliver the vision of Mobile they hold then they have to remove the bill shock. Why did Vodafone not have a Credit Control process in place that gave Ewan a warning that he had used his allowance and then it was his dicision to stop or pay through the nose? Ewan is not the only one to be surprised by the cost of Data. The Bloke in the Pub effect will mean that Mobile Data falls into the WAP is C**P sector if the networks do not quickly resolve pricing.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

This could be fun!

Next week I am Chairing the first day of Informa's Internet Portal Strategies conference.

The Event Producer sent me the welcome pack today and so I have had the opportunity to review the agenda and speakers. When I was asked if I would do this I did warn that it could be lively given my view that Mobile Data is far from main stream.

The first two speakers look interesting in that they come from the print industry. Then we have a couple of friends talking about User experience and advertising. Then after Lunch we will have the networks talk about how they will monitise the process. Followed by the Sun talking about how they engage with their "readership" before Turner talk Mobile TV. If the speakers can engage then I might become less of naysayer - then you might just see Richard Dawkins next to Tony Blair taking Communion on a Sunday!

Not going to be able to make all of the second day as I have a client breakfast to attend, a lot of friends are presenting and so I do intent to grab a free lunch and do a bit of networking!

If you want to come along then drop me a line via the comments box and I will send you a VIP discount form. For those that are unable to attend I will write up ALL that happens next week.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Are Mobile Phones causing traffic jams?

Three times this week driving to meetings I have had to endure heavy than expected traffic. Whilst the number of people on the road was high there was no logical reason for the slow traffic. We were not being funneled into fewer lanes, no one had broken down or crashed.

Watching some of those that are travelling slower than the average speed all to often they were on the phone, those that were the worse example of a roadblock were doing data rather than voice.

Is one of the problems with mobile becoming mass market the fact that people think that they can use the device anywhere? Even Television is a technology that people realise was not something that worked in ALL aspects of our life. Why then is it that Mobile is something that people do not seem to realise needs context?

I am starting to become annoyed by those who think its expectable to take calls when eating with me. If I can turn of my three phones why can't they switch off their one!

Is Cuba doing wrong in opening up telecoms to its population? Would it be a better situation if Mobile Networks undertook a fit and proper person test as well as a credit check on all new customers?

The fact that everyone who wants a mobile has one is good news for the Networks, Government, Equipment and Handset industries but is it good for society? It does not seem that social pressure works with these people when it comes to getting then to accept norms. What is it about having a mobile phone that makes some users Autistic?

It is not a class issue. It was not only those that drove a BMW who were guilty of acting as a rolling road block. It is not a gender issue or race. The bad news is that "convictions" for using a mobile while driving do not seem to count on police statistics. If they did then we could expect to see a road camera that captured not just the drivers face but also his mobile number so that they can add a new revenue stream to Police income. The M4/A4 would be full of Police if the figures made a difference to crime statistics.

I am not a Grumpy Old Git but I do feel that at times the last thing that you need is a Phone whilst you are in a car, shopping in a supermarket, taking a comfort break. Send a text message when you are nose to tail on a road is dangerous, doing it in the Fast lane is stupid!